Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Loses Contact With Perseverance Rover: NASA

    Inam Ansari
    January21/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Mars Helicopter

    Washington: Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has lost contact with Perseverance rover, which acts as a relay between the helicopter and mission officials on Earth, NASA said.
    Ingenuity landed on the Red Planet in February 2021 attached to the belly of NASA's Mars Perseverance rover and it also marked the two-year anniversary of its first flight, which took place on April 19, 2021. Originally tasked with only five test flights to prove its "pioneering" technology, Ingenuity helicopter exceeded all expectations. On January 18, Ingenuity executed its 72nd flight at the Red Planet.
    The flight was designed as a quick pop-up vertical flight to check out the helicopter's systems, following an unplanned early landing during its previous flight, NASA said.
    While it achieved a maximum altitude of 40 feet, the communication was lost before touchdown, the agency noted. "Data Ingenuity sent to the Perseverance rover (which acts as a relay between the helicopter and Earth) during the flight indicates it successfully climbed to its assigned maximum altitude of 40 feet (12 meters)," mission officials said in an update.
    "During its planned descent, communications between the helicopter and rover terminated early, prior to touchdown."
    The six-wheeled Perseverance rover is searching for signs of ancient microbial life on the Red Planet.
    "Perseverance is currently out of line-of-sight with Ingenuity, but the team could consider driving closer for a visual inspection," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages both robots' missions, said via X on Friday.
    "The Ingenuity team is analysing available data and considering next steps to re-establish communications with the helicopter," the update said.
    Ingenuity has stayed aloft for more than 128 minutes and covered a total of 17.7 km during its 72 Mars flights, according to the mission's flight log. —INS